By Samantha Burroughs

I blame the University Case Study Competition and Dick Handshaw. Both played a huge role in my beginnings. My first ISPI meeting was a local chapter meeting in Charlotte, NC. I was still a student and intern, learning my way through instructional systems design (ISD) and human performance technology (HPT). Dick mentioned that the session–Carl Binder–would be beneficial to me. I signed up, read through some material about Six Boxes, and walked into the meeting–terrified.

A: These people wrote my textbooks, I cannot be here.

B: I will have nothing of value to insert.

C: Everyone knows everyone and I am going to stick out like a sore thumb.

I was wrong.

A: “Those people” are leaders in my field and actually want to know how they can present information to me in a more useable way.

B: I did have value–just asking a question was appreciated. Sometimes, seeing it from a student perspective helps.

C: Yes, most people at the meeting knew each other, but the few people I knew introduced me to everyone else.

I had the opportunity to compete in the University Case Study Competition that led me to my first conference. Honestly, I am a conference warrior. I love meeting new people and this was like going to Disney World. (It actually was in Disney World, but still.) Although the Case Study was my main focus, I had the opportunity to meet the current leaders of the Emerging Professionals Committee (EPC) and join the committee. I attended the Chapter Leader’s workshop and brought back great tools for Charlotte. I stood proudly on the stage with my fellow chapter members to accept our award for Chapter of Excellence.

My career, education, and focus changed as a direct result of that first meeting.

Now–I have finished my MEd in Instructional Systems Technology, I am serving on my local chapter board, and I am the current chair of the Emerging Professionals Committee.